We’re to the final quarterfinal bout of the season on The Ultimate Fighter 23 tonight, and it’s Team Joanna’s last chance to advance one of their women in the tournament after finally cracking the semifinals in the men’s field with Josh Stansbury’s win over Abdel Medjedoub. Tonight, it’s Ashley Yoder from Team Joanna vs. Kate Jackson from Team Claudia, and we’ll find out the semifinal matchups as well. On to the rundown on this ninth episode of TUF 23!
-Dana White sets the stage on this final bout between Yoder and Jackson and how Gadelha’s looking for the sweep. Gadelha describes Jackson as one of the strongest on the team, but also says she’s the type of fighter who holds back in training only to perform in her fights.
-We get more on Cory Hendricks continuing to deal with his neck and shoulder injury. He’s waiting on the MRI results, and though he’s hopeful he will be able to fight through it, there’s a possibility one of the other fighters will get to take his spot. Elias Urbina and Khalil Rountree believe they are options to come back, though Rountree says he’s not been thinking about the possibility too much in hopes his real life teammate could continue on in the competition.
-Ashley Yoder tells her teammates a heartbreaking story about her brother’s passing in a tragic motorcycle accident when she was only 18. She said that’s one of the things that led her to MMA when she was in her darkest time, and that it became her therapy after not having any martial arts background.
-Jedrzejczyk believes Yoder to be the better overall fighter, but understands Jackson is strong and can control fights if allowed, so she warns Yoder against allowing that.
-Jackson, who fought Jedrzejczyk early in her career and lost, says she’s improved on the mistakes she made in that fight and it has made her better. Gadelha says the gameplan for Jackson is to get the fight to the ground and keep it there with ground and pound or to find a submission.
-Hendricks gets results from his MRI, and he’s not dealing with a herniated disc, but one which is pushing onto his nerve and starting that way. However, they believe with ibuprofen and a continuation of the physical therapy they’d had him on that he could get some of his strength back and would be able to compete. They said they’d know in a few days whether or not he’ll be able to fight.
-We get a look at how Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha were training, as they brought camps with them to prepare for their title fight. Gadelha talked about how she left home at 15 to go train in Rio de Janeiro. She’s working with Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas while there training. She still believes the judges cost her in her first fight with Jedrzejczyk, and she believes she’s going to avenge that loss.
-Jedrzejczyk had dinner with the coaches at assistant coach Robert Drysdale’s place along with his family. She’s working with Drysdale while in Vegas herself as well.
Jedrzejczyk: “I’m the best, you know. It doesn’t matter how hard they’re going to try, they’re not going to be able to beat me.”
-White gives the hard sell about the fight and the bad blood between the two of them.
Jedrzejczyk: “Bitch I gonna cut your head. July 8. Be ready.”
-After weigh-ins, we get a little from both fighters talking about fight day prep, as well as getting in final thoughts on the opportunity this show represents to them. As expected, Jedrzejczyk believes Yoder can win, Gadelha’s confident in Jackson’s abilities. Yoder says her entire focus is to win this show.
Yoder: “This is going to be my season. It’s my time to shine.”
Jackson: “I think people underestimate me, because I’m small, and I’m female, and I don’t look like what they think a stereotypical fighter would look like; but when I get in the cage I get a rush out of punching people in the face.”
FIGHT: ASHLEY YODER VS. KATE JACKSON
ROUND ONE: Jackson got in a right hand early. Yoder threw a couple of strikes but then Jackson scored a takedown. Yoder used a high guard and tried to set something up. Jackson defended and landed some heavy strikes from the top. Yoder tried to work from the bottom. Jackson was warned to work and threw a few strikes. She landed some more and Yoder tossed her legs up to attack. Yoder ate a few strikes, then landed some illegal upkicks that nevertheless didn’t stop the action. She attacked for an armbar and Jackson had to try to keep her arm locked down. Yoder patiently tried to complete the hold while defending a few strikes. Jackson did a very good job not allowing Yoder to straighten the arm. They were in a bit of a stalemate as Yoder was trying to take any small opening she could. Jackson landed a few intermittent strikes but they continued in that position for an extended time. Jackson continued to stay heavy and never let her arm get extended. She finally popped free just before the horn. Close round, probably Jackson’s with top position and ground and pound, though Yoder could score points for the submission attempt and activity off her back.
ROUND TWO: Jackson complained about the upkicks to the face while she was grounded, while “Big” John McCarthy warned Yoder about those very blows. They exchanged strikes early on. Jackson got in a solid kick, but Yoder cracked her with a nice left hand. Yoder landed a right hand. Jackson clinched, landed a few strikes, and drove to the cage. Yoder locked on a choke attempt to break out of a takedown attempt. The clinch battle continued, then Yoder nearly scored a nice reversal on an attempt. She attacked for an arm, but Jackson was heavy enough on her to throw strikes. They were stood up after a stalemate. Jackson came straight ahead with a kick. She went for another takedown but got stopped in the clinch. Yoder lost a choke attempt. She stuffed another takedown, but ate a hard knee on the break. Yoder landed a few hard strikes in the center. Jackson got in a big head kick. Yoder looked exhausted, and she was getting beat to the punch. She connected on a couple, though her strikes looked labored. Jackson landed a leg kick. Yoder got in a spinning back fist with little power. They traded strikes in the center. Yoder closed distance and nearly scored her own takedown. They threw strikes to the horn. No idea which way the judges will go here, as there’s a possibility for both of them in either round. We’re getting a decision, which likely means Jackson, though Yoder was the one attacking through much of the ground exchanges.
WINNER: Jackson by unanimous decision
-Clean sweep on the women’s tournament for Team Claudia. Yoder lamented her inability to finish the submission while Gadelha’s team then moved to the reality that they’re going to have to fight each other given seven of them are in the UFC.
-Dana White made the semifinal matchups:
-Andrew Sanchez vs. Eric Spicely
-Josh Stansbury vs. Cory Hendricks
-Amanda Cooper vs. Lanchana Green
-Tatiana Suarez vs. Kate Jackson
We’ll be back next week for the first of our semifinal bouts to see who takes their spot in the finals on July 8!
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